Grants To Combat Graffiti Awarded

Keep America Beautiful, Inc. has announced the winners of the 2010 Graffiti Hurts® Grant Program. The annual grants were initiated in 2007 to help support grassroots programs that combat graffiti vandalism. Groups eligible to apply for the grants are non-profit, civic, and community organizations; youth groups and schools; and government agencies. This year’s winners, each receiving $2,500, are:

  • City of San Rafael, CA, Volunteer Program,
  • United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA, Scranton, PA
  • Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County, CA

“The winning entries for this year’s Graffiti Hurts National Grants are inspiring reminders of the power of community action to overcome local challenges,” said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. “We thank The Sherwin-Williams Company for its ongoing commitment to graffiti prevention education through the Graffiti Hurts program.”

Responding to the blight of graffiti vandalism, Graffiti Hurts® was developed in 1996 through a partnership between Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit education and community improvement organization, and The Sherwin-Williams Company. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, graffiti contributes to lost revenue associated with reduced ridership on transit systems, reduced retail sales, and declines in the value of surrounding residential and commercial property.

“Graffiti is more than an eyesore, it’s an act of vandalism against the entire community,” said Harvey Sass, president and general manager, Diversified Brands Division, The Sherwin-Williams Company. “Sherwin-Williams applauds the 2010 Graffiti Hurts National Grant Program recipients for the creative, community-focused approaches they are taking to rid their local neighborhoods of this blight.”

The Winning Proposals
The City of San Rafael Volunteer Program engages citizens, neighborhood associations, businesses, and other groups to reduce graffiti vandalism. A volunteer graffiti corps will complement the City Police and Public Works staff with eradication, ordinance enforcement, and education for young people about the consequences of vandalism. The program team will strive for timely abatement, neighborhood watch programs, and adopt-a-spot type programs.

(Photo courtesy of Keep America Beautiful, Inc.)
(Photo courtesy of Keep America Beautiful, Inc.)

United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA in Scranton plans to eliminate all graffiti in South Scranton by organizing a “Paint Out” event in fall 2010, educating local youth through their participation in the event, and launching a community forum program which promotes safe and clean neighborhoods. A February 2010 meeting of the South Scranton Residents Association prompted the Community Justice Initiative to partner with “Pay It Forward” for the initial “Paint Out” in March 2010. The event will engage local youth and adults alike in removing graffiti.

The Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA, focuses on quick response and abatement of graffiti vandalism. The goal is to respond within 24 hours on working days and within 48 hours on weekends. The widely publicized “24-hour graffiti hotline” will be used by members of the community and county staff to report graffiti vandalism, and trained volunteers will paint out the graffiti for property owners.


  1. Graffiti costs tax payers and business owners in more ways than one! Some people may think that it’s just as simple as going down to the local hardware store and buying a paint brush and some paint. What’s the big deal right? This allows the youth of america to express themselves. Well I beg to differ… Let’s paint a scenario – We’ll take a manufacturing business. Lets say that over the weekend some “taggers” came by and “expressed themselves” all over the building. So the production manager is put in charge to clean up the mess. The boss says, “go and get the supplies you need to fix this problem”. $500 later, he comes back with all the paint that would be needed for the job and paint rollers to boot. Then has takes five of the seven crew members to help clean up the mess. They fail to tell the supervisor was that one of the major accounts called while you were at the hardware store and placed a $200,000 order that had to be shipped out by the end of the day. So what seemed like a small problem has turned into a huge problem. Combined, you lost wages of $500 for the crew members that were taken off their normal duties, your our your half a day of supervision of apx. $400. You spent $500 in materials and you lost a $200,000 order from one of your biggest clients.

    Video surveillance, remote video monitoring and verified video can be a real positive solution to this issue.

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